Likes: All of the Lights, Blame Game, Runaway
Dislikes: So Appalled, Monster
Overall: Good album. I need a facebook “like” button.
Kanye West’s 5th album, “My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy,” let’s us inside his mind as he reflects on the black experience in America, hip-hop, his struggle to preserve his art, his love life and resisting being swept up in the dark side of fame. From the lyrics to the sound, “Beautiful” is definitely darker and far less jubilant and triumphant in comparison to West’s albums before “808’s and Heartbreak.” The record is almost kind of depressing to listen to. West isn’t even as arrogant as he used to be lyrically. He still brags on himself and there are shreds of the usual hip-hop materialism, but if you listen closely, West isn’t as pleased with himself as he used to be (or at least that’s the impression I got). On “Gorgeous”, he implies that he feels duped by the music industry and is disappointed by his inability to break free of manipulation. On some of his tracks about relationships (ex. “Hell of a Life”& “Runaway”), you hear West negatively critique himself as a romantic partner and how he resorts to the cold, numbing, self-abusing world of celebrity and excess to cope. In addition, he depicts an inner struggle to embrace the simple, pure and feeling versus the glossy, stereotypical life of a rapper (ex. “All of the Lights”). The musical production is dramatic and abrasive, and I absolutely adore the use of live instruments (I always do). The orchestrations on the “All the Lights” interlude and “Runway” are just beautiful to me. As for further comments on specific tracks, most people enjoyed “Monster,” but I didn’t find the lyrics impressive or interesting. “Who Will Survive in America” is a poetic, intense, hard, realistic look at the minority, cross-cultural experience in America that I feel many will relate to.
I enjoyed running around inside of Kanye’s mind for an hour, and, as always, I appreciate him sharing such an introspective moment with us on wax. He is truly an artist whose work reflects his personal view. I hope he figures everything out and the walls of his room stop spinning. Although I prefer previous Kanye albums, this one is a great piece of music.